Taxes, are they morally wrong?


#1

Not naming names but I have seen many Forumosans argue that taxing is the same as stealing. Would love to see their reasoning here and also how they would fund any public project without taxes.


#2

Slavery! :astonished:


#3

It’s not the same as stealing. It’s more like money with menaces.

If you’re mugged in the street, it’s probably little comfort if you later find out that your mugger has donated the contents of your wallet to the World Wildlife Fund on your behalf - because, you know, he’s a really good egg deep down. In fact the implication is that he’s a better egg than you are, because you, you cold-hearted bastard, never donate anything to the WWF.

I was never impressed with the story of Robin Hood (I read the book when I was about 9). He struck me as a bit of self-righteous bellend.

Nothing wrong with governments raising revenue and initiating public projects. Very worthy aim. It’s what they’re for. However, I would humbly suggest that they should find better ways to do it than “give us half your income or we’ll throw you in jail”.

Incidentally, I was just reading up about the Great Famine in Ireland (I wanted to make sure a comment I made was accurate). It turns out that it was precipitated in part by tax policy.


#4

Because they only care about cool and popular animals like the panda. There are a lot of other endanger species that are important to the eco system that would cost a fraction of the cost of keeping pandas on life support to save. This might one of the problems with the morality of taxes. Being told it’s being used for a good cause when the money is not being utilized with maximum utility for the person being taxed or for everyone.


#5

The general story of British colonial famines I always thought was more about “rent”, rather than “tax”:

Step 1: Dispossess the farming population of its land

Step 2: Rent some of the land back to farmers

Step 3: Collect the lion’s share of farm products as rent. Export that, and evict tenants that don’t pay.

Step 5: Make no alterations to the system during bad years and crop failures. Continue to export the land products and to evict for non payment.

Step 6: Introduce income taxes on trades and professionals to pay for the costs of dealing with all the destitute, dead and dying.

Step 7: Rationalize: famine is natural, peasants are stupid and lazy etc


#6

Nothing wrong with publicly funded projects. The only problem is when the government funds projects through taxes that the taxpayers don’t want. Like building a border wall.

Taxpayers should have more say-so in where their hard earned tax dollars are spent.


#7

You also have some BS taxes like the amusement tax…they are taxing fun

https://www.atr.org/chicago-s-amusement-tax-no-laughing-matter


#8

:sleeping:

We don’t pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes.


#9

Taxation is not inherently morally wrong. It makes sense to contribute to the maintenance and improvement of a social and structural network that you are a part of. I don’t think that’s controversial. That contribution, I would argue, does not have to happen solely monetarily, e.g. volunteerism is another means of accomplishing this. But factually and currently it is accomplished with monetary taxes.

However, it is apparent that the vast majority of tax money in, e.g. USA, is not allocated to places and projects that the payers approve of. For example, the US spends billions on some really abhorrent weapons trading, political intervention, etc. and that is something contrary to the values of say, an anti-war or anti-interventionism advocate. So being compelled to support that monetarily merely as a result of accident of birth (i.e. nationality) is not morally permissible. That doesn’t make income taxes morally wrong: it makes it morally acceptable not to pay them under certain circumstances, and there’s a difference. Sales taxes are probably morally wrong, but this has to do with them being a regressive tax.


#10

Rent, tax, same difference.

There was an economist who made a case that tax is (mathematically speaking) just a diffusion of rent to people who aren’t directly using the land, and that taxation would be more efficient if it was reduced back to rent. I don’t think this could actually work in practice because the usage of land determines its value (that is, you couldn’t fairly fix the value of a given piece of land; there would be disincentives to develop it because it would increase the taxation on it). But it’s an interesting thought experiment. Forget his name now. 1950s. Nobody famous.


#11

Well tax goes to the public purse, rent goes to private.


#12

Not if it’s the government charging the rent, or charging large taxes on the rent. In the Irish case the issue was ‘rates’, ie., land tax.


#13

I beg to differ. It was rent paid to private landlords.


#14

I’m just going off of Wikipedia here :slight_smile:

It states that the landlords were responsible for rates on the land that they sublet to peasants. For some unexplained reason, they all simultanously faced a cashflow problem and evicted the peasants so that they could re-rent the land in larger parcels or at a higher rent, thus putting the new tenants into a pay-your-own-rates bracket.


#15

The people who starved were peasant farmers living in something no much better than mud huts who had little access to food let alone money to pay any tax. The ‘rent’ was paid in the form of the landlord carting off the agricultural produce. If they couldn’t pay up, eviction: there was a general trend towards clearing the land of people as pasture was more effective for yielding a surplus anyway, because it was not labor intensive

bothan


#16

But many do want it. It’s all a matter of appeasing your voter base. Naturally it will drive others away, especially when it’s normal or even expected to oppose any policy from the other party no matter what it is. You must oppose them on ever issue or you’re not a true supporter on our party. And you are a supporter of some party, right? Not a loser who throws their vote away on independents? :thinking:


#17

The US got along fine without income taxes until early 1900s. Fought two wars outside its borders without an income tax.
Trade tariffs were the largest source of federal revenue from the 1790s until before WW1.
How did you think the Transcontinental Railroad, the greatest infrastructure project of the 1800s was paid for?
Government bonds. And both railroads paid off the government debt in full.

It’s mostly about balancing a budget, which the US government distinguishably fails at to a severe degree.


#18

Sure, like american government does not spent a lot of taxes on its military, which defend american interest world wide and dollar standard. What is particular reason, heavy tax payers can keep paying hefty taxes. But wait, what was first egg or chicken?


#19

One man’s fine is another’s :banana:.

And how did those work out? :rofl:


#20

Dude, where’s step 4? :face_with_raised_eyebrow: